LB°24 Participants

Fadlabi

Fadlabi (b. 1975, Omdurman, Sudan) lives and works in Luleå, Sweden.

Fadlabi is influenced by commercial sign paintings in Africa, Ethiopian church paintings and afro-futurism, using various media such as painting, text, sound, video and performance. Through site-specific projects, Fadlabi aims to critically challenge preconceived ideas on identity, race, and power dynamics in History and contemporary life.

On view on Luleå’s Ice Road

Sadaqah Jariyah – On behalf of Nils Amund Raknerud, Fadlabi, 2023. Luleåbiennalen 2024. Photo: Ludvig Sjödin.

Sadaqah Jariyah – On behalf of Nils Amund Raknerud, 2023
Mixed media, variable dimensions.

Fadlabi reconfigures the wind shelters installed on Luleå’s Ice Road every winter. Using them as canvases, he infuses these structures with colours, patterns, and calligraphy inspired by his Sudanese roots and by how its diverse cultural practices express forms of community care, both among the living and in relation to those who have passed.

With its various ethnic groups, Sudan houses unique cultural practices related to death and mourning. In remembrance of the deceased, Sudanese tradition involves engaging in charitable acts believed to benefit the departed soul. This may include assisting the poor, providing food for those in need, or improving communal public infrastructures such as water supply systems, roads, or sun shelters. A common feature in these projects is the inclusion of the names of the deceased alongside inspirational quotes, serving as a lasting acknowledgment of their memory and as calligraphic ornaments. The Islamic belief in the continuous rewards for those who engage in charitable deeds is expressed by the concept of Sadaqah Jariyah, which carries the idea that positive impacts can extend beyond one's lifetime, benefiting future generations.

Against the backdrop of ongoing wars in Sudan and worldwide, Fadlabi pays homage to those who have passed, simultaneously contributing to the enhancement of a seasonal infrastructure with cultural and recreational significance for Luleå’s community. The artist follows the Sudanese economy of means, and dedicates the artwork to his deceased friend and mentor, the Norwegian novelist Nils Amund Raknerud, also extending this homage to all those who find shelter from the wind, both literally and metaphorically. Combining personal reverence with civic care, Fadlabi expands the concept of sheltering beyond physical protection, portraying it as a collective responsibility toward each other and those who are not among us – past and future generations.

Texts in the work and translation

الحب من شيم الكرام
لروح نيلز آموند راكنرود
حباً في الناس و حماية لأجسادهم من الريح

Love is generous
For the soul of Nils Amund Raknerud
For the love of people and to protect their bodies from wind

About the artist

Fadlabi studied at The Oslo National Art Academy (KHiO), The Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Sudan, Alneelain University in Sudan and The Sudan University. His works have been presented at the Uppsala Art Museum, SE (2023), the Minnesota Museum of American Art, USA (2019), Performa 15, USA (2015) and Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE (2013). Fadlabi’s works are also part of collections such as the Trondheim Art Museum, The Norwegian National Museum and The Norwegian Parliament. In 2017 he founded Khartoum Contemporary Art Center (KCAC) together with Karin Erixon.